LESS GREEN, more gray.

UST will have to endure the environmental backlash once trees at Lacson Avenue are uprooted to give way to a flyover, University experts say.

College of Architecture Dean John Joseph Fernandez warned that the loss of trees could worsen flooding in UST.

“The purpose of the trees is to [keep] flood from immediately cascading down,” he said, adding that flooding has been a perennial problem for UST due to the fact that the Sampaloc district, formerly a swamp, is below sea level.

Architect Manuel Maximo Lopez del Castillo Noche, a professor at the College of Architecture, agreed, saying concrete infrastructure would prevent soil from absorbing water.

“[Sampaloc] is just overly grown and developed. If the land is not congested with too much concrete, water will be seeped by the earth naturally,” he told the Varsitarian in an interview.

Environmental hazards

However, Fernandez said flooding, which the University is already used to, is not the worst problem.

Without trees, air will no longer be filtered of carbon dioxide (CO2) which vehicles emit. Moreover, Lacson Avenue will generate more heat because sidewalks are made of cement and asphalt, which are heat-absorbing concrete materials.

Noche pointed out that trees provide shade to pedestrians and serve as buffers against noise from vehicle traffic.

Danilo Idos, director of the Department of Public Works and Highways’ Urban Road Projects Office, said workers have started uprooting trees upon getting the approval of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Philippine Coconut Authority.

“We [had] received approval, but the permit has already expired, so we [have] requested for a new one,” Idos said in an interview.

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The proposed four-lane flyover, which will stand 1,440 meters or as high as the Roque Ruaño Building, will purportedly ease traffic in the area. The multi-million project is expected to be finished by October next year. Kristelle Ann A. Batchelor

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